Establishing your brand as having credible interest in social causes seems to be a natural building block to creating customer loyalty. The 2012 edition of Nielsen’s Global Socially Conscious Consumer found that over two-thirds of consumers surveyed prefer to buy from companies that clearly “give back to society”. You can obtain your own copy of the report here and also read an overview of the report with specific examples of corporations walking the CSR walk in the Most Contagious 2012 report here.
Among the examples noted in the Most Contagious report was Banco Popular de Puerto Rico’s effort to combat poverty and redirect attitudes about the role and consumption of welfare benefits in the island nation. I was surprised to learn that about 60% of the population in Puerto Rico lives on government handouts. Given the rising tide of dependence on welfare and pop culture celebration of the phenomena with a hit song on the radio, Banco Popular decided it was time to exert its influence in a positive manner.
As you can read here, the bank engaged El Gran Combo to rewrite its popular song about living on welfare with new lyrics to effect cultural change. Check out the result, titled the Most Popular Song, which was created in collaboration with JWT Puerto Rico and won the PR Grand Prix at Cannes earlier in the year.
To stay grounded in reality, not all consumers put social responsibility at the top of their list as a factor influencing a purchase decision. And, for those of us who do prioritize charitable giving and social responsibility, there are as many opinions about what charity to support as there are people willing to give. Serving this diverse array of choice was one of the ideas behind Kula Causes when it launched its “currency of giving”, connecting loyalty program members with over 2.5 million causes across the world.
In the last half of the year, Kula made two big announcements, partnering with Milepoint, an online frequent-flyer community, and JetBlue to offer the True Giving platform to its True Blue frequent flyer membership. You can read about the True Giving platform here and see how Kula and JetBlue partnered to raise a tremendous amount of money in support of victims of Hurricane Sandy.
CSR initiatives were surely launched in boardrooms around the world with good intentions, but have been diluted in their impact by too much hyperbole and too little action. The examples shared here illustrate how transparency and choice play a role in establishing a CSR plan that not only serves specific people groups but also elevates the sponsoring brand.